I met Richard on the Masters of Horror Facebook group. I'm not going to tell you again how you should join that group if you haven't already (but you so should!). He had just released his book and was looking for reviewers. Well, you know me, I will do almost anything for a free book. So we struck up an email conversation and Richard sent a copy of his book, The Q-word and Other Stories. All I will say here is that I loved this book. Loved it. You can read my review over at See Spot Read.
And on to the interview itself~
1.) How long have you been writing?
I made my first sale in 1986.
2.) Are you a full time author or do you have a day job or side jobs?
I think of myself as a full-time writer, but for the past couple years, I’ve had a second job as an online teacher. I originally took the job to pay off some medical bills more quickly. About the time I accomplished that, the economy took a downturn and my writing income took a downturn right along with it. So I’m keeping the teaching gig until things turn around.
3.) Is this your fist collection of short stories? What do you like or dislike about writing shorts?
This is my first collection. I like writing short fiction for a couple different reasons. One is that a short story is finished before it wears me out or I get sick of it. That’s not always true of a novel. Another is that a short story is manageable. Although it may be an illusion, I feel like I can tinker with it and polish it until it’s perfect. Whereas even when I sense that a novel’s going well, I never feel like I can make it flawless. There’s just too much material for me to hold it all in my head at once and balance, and refine it in the same way.
4.) You have several traditionally published works, what made you decide to go the Indie route with this book?
First off, though I have done a lot of traditionally published work, I’m not a superstar, and the New York houses are often able to contain their enthusiasm for short-story collections by lesser lights. But over the years, I’ve done a lot of short fiction I’m proud of. So, with epublishing so easy and inexpensive, why not give readers another chance to discover those stories, and sweeten the deal with a new one while I’m at it?
5.) The stories in this collection are mainly fantasy. Is that your preferred genre?
I love both fantasy and horror, and I think many of my stories actually straddle the line. The ones labeled as fantasy often have scary passages, and the ones labeled as horror often contain adventure and wonder.
6.) What I really like about these stories is the wonderful sense of humor that comes through. I don't care what genre one is writing/or reading- a little bit of humor is always a plus. Do you always display this humor? Do people tell you you're a funny guy?
I do joke around a lot, and my friends seem to think I’m funny. Although it’s possible they’re only humoring me.
7.) What is your writing routine?
I get up and write every day Monday through Friday. I stop when I meet my quota of new words. More often than not, that’s 1500. That seems to be a reasonable target for me to hit. I’m not slacking off, but it doesn’t kill me, either. When I have a tight deadline, though, my quota sometimes goes a lot higher. And I make it. I’m just miserable while I’m doing it.
8.) Have you always been a fan of fantasy?
Yes, pretty much. I was lucky enough to grow up right when publishers like Ace, Lancer, and Ballantine were bringing a lot of fantasy back into print, so I had the opportunity to discover the genre. If I’d been a few years older, I might still have gotten into science fiction, but maybe not all the dragons-and-magic stuff.
9.) What other authors inspire you?
Many. But I think my greatest influences are probably still the writers I loved growing up, so I’ll list some of them: Fritz Leiber, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny, Karl Edward Wagner, Alexandre Dumas, H. G. Wells, and Raymond Chandler.
10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?
You absolutely have to make yourself write on a regular schedule. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.
You also have to make sure you finish the stories you start. Maybe not all of them, but most.
There’s plenty of information available on the craft and business of writing. Go get it. Otherwise, you’re starting out with a huge handicap.
Be courteous and professional in all your dealings, even if you feel that editors and publishers are being less than courteous and professional in their dealings with you.
Don’t give up.
Richard Lee Byers is the author of over thirty fantasy and horror novels, including a number set in the Forgotten Realms universe. A resident of the Tampa Bay area,, he spends much of his leisure time fencing and playing poker.
You can also buy The Q Word and Other Stories as well as his other books on Amazon.
You can also by The Q Word and Other Stories on all platforms at Smashwords.
Email Richard here, read his blog here, Friend him on Facebook, and Follow him on Twitter.
Hope you enjoyed this interview!